By Joseph Itaya
For the South Whidbey Record
In what has normally been a fall sports activity, South Whidbey High School boy’s tennis began their season this year in the spring.
Tennis joined football, volleyball, girl’s soccer and cross country as sports which have been moved to different seasons, in order to address safety concerns driven by COVID-19.
Practices commenced on Feb. 15 in preparation for play in the newly realigned Emerald Sound Conference.
In addition, its season has also been shortened by 25 percent with only nine scheduled conference matches.
This year, 18 boys turned out to compete and play tennis for South Whidbey.
Three upperclassmen, senior Ian Maddux and juniors Ranger Buck and Jordan Wu, provide leadership and experience for the team.
The remainder of the Falcon roster is young with a mix of nine sophomores and six freshmen.
Head Coach Karyle Kramer and assistant coach Don Zisette’s varsity players is comprised of Maddux, Buck, Wu, Austin Buck, Waylan Parsell, Kaiden Wilson, Lane Nichols, Zander Kuschnereit and Evan Chapelle.
The junior varsity squad is made up of players Dustin Davis, Nicholas Muller, Aiden Haines, Colin Byler, Gabe Gandarias, Evan Welever, Ian Maher, Konrad Nyberg, Jack Hodson and Luke Honold.
Extra effort was required to get a competitive sports program up and going this year with weather challenges almost daily and health protocols requiring time.
Opening season matches on Feb. 26 and March 5 had to be canceled or rescheduled, but Kramer continues to push her athletes toward full competitive readiness.
In the first match of the season played against Seattle Academy on March 3, Falcon singles and doubles teams fought gamely, but lost all five matches.
At the conclusion of the contest, Kramer gathered the players and said, “Seattle Academy has had the good fortune of being able to compete in matches before playing South Whidbey, as their third conference opponent.
“Having match experience is invaluable and we’ll grow in confidence and success as the season progresses,” Kramer told the players.